As Democrats in Cheektowaga gear up for a primary in the supervisor’s race, Republicans are wondering if this may finally be the year for them in the heavily Democratic town.
Council Member Diane Benczkowski and Town Clerk Alice Magierski have announced they are running for supervisor, and both said they will force a primary if they do not win the Democratic endorsement.
Supervisor Mary Holtz announced earlier this month that she would not seek a third term, and she threw her support behind Magierski, the two-term clerk.
Magierski, 65, was a council member for four years before running for town clerk eight years ago. She also worked for the Sloan School District for more than 20 years, retiring as treasurer when she became town clerk.
“My solid background in government makes me a good candidate,” she said.
She said she took her time in deciding to run for supervisor, and it was not an easy decision.
Magierski, who also is town tax receiver, said she has introduced new ideas, reduced staff and still was able to keep services moving in the two departments.
As a Town Board member, she put forward the town demolition law, secured funding for combatting rodents and proposed a law restricting where convicted sex offenders can live in the town, she said.
“I am the most qualified candidate, based on experience,” she said.
Benczkowski said she has gained knowledge about the town and issues facing residents since she joined the Town Board in 2013. She said she would increase transparency and open government by making sure people know when the Town Board work sessions are held.
“A lot of our residents don’t even know about it,” she said.
Benczkowski, 57, who served 12 years on the Depew School Board and has been in real estate for 25 years, is an associate broker for M. J. Peterson Real Estate.
She said she would like to work to update the town’s comprehensive plan. She also wants to make the town, with its many starter homes, desirable for young families. She said she did not grow up in politics in the town, and that residents respond to that.
“I am a voice for them and only them,” she said.
This would be the second time the two have faced each other in a primary. Magierski beat Benczkowski in the primary for town clerk in 2007. In 2005, Benczkowski was unsuccessful running as a Republican for the Town Board.
Meanwhile, GOP town Chairman Don Friedrich said his party is poised to make inroads on the Town Board, particularly with a strong showing by county-wide Republican candidates. Three council seats as well as the supervisor and town clerk posts are to be filled.
“I think our chances are very good,” he said. “We’re pretty united on our side; our team is going to work together.”